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Terry O’Connor says Australia and New Zealand have been too hasty in withdrawing from Rugby League World Cup | Rugby League Information

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Terry O’Connor

Rugby League Professional & Columnist

Australia and New Zealand withdrew as a consequence of rising Covid {cases} within the UK; Australian Rugby League Gamers Affiliation (RLPA) mentioned they’d been working with event organisers “for a while” on participant well being and security protocols and ensure members needed to compete in autumn event

Final Up to date: 27/07/21 1:46pm

As it stands, Australia will not be defending the Rugby League World Cup title they won in 2017

Because it stands, Australia is not going to be defending the Rugby League World Cup title they gained in 2017

With the World Cup lower than three months away, rugby league remains to be reeling eventually Thursday’s announcement that Australia and New Zealand will not participate within the event, citing participant welfare within the present COVID pandemic.

For the primary time shortly, their resolution has seen rugby league dominate the sports activities agenda – and left everybody scratching their heads.

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Australian athletes are at the moment competing within the Tokyo Olympics. The Wallabies rugby union facet are as a consequence of go to these shores in November. As Tremendous League chairman Ken Davy mentioned final week: “It’s fairly astounding that athletes from Australia and New Zealand are about to compete within the Olympics, along with the Australian rugby union workforce being within the UK this Autumn, but their rugby league counterparts have determined to withdraw.”

I consider that Australia’s NRL is once more demonstrating its contempt for Tremendous League, and the worldwide sport. Have been they to decide to our World Cup, these Antipodean gamers concerned would endure a fortnight’s quarantine on their return Down Underneath, then eight weeks off – taking them out of the image for pre-season friendlies constructing as much as the NRL’s return in 2022.

England international Sam Tomkins says Australia and New Zealand's decision to pull out of the World Cup has come at a strange time, with the tournament not due to start until late October

Sky Sports 0:24
England worldwide Sam Tomkins says Australia and New Zealand’s resolution to tug out of the World Cup has come at a wierd time, with the event not as a consequence of begin till late October

England worldwide Sam Tomkins says Australia and New Zealand’s resolution to tug out of the World Cup has come at a wierd time, with the event not as a consequence of begin till late October

This is not the gamers’ resolution – it is the fits who care extra concerning the NRL than worldwide rugby league.

Let’s not overlook, this event is backed the UK Authorities to the tune of £25m – and stays the largest achievement in a global jersey. It is the vanity that annoys me greater than something – thrown again within the faces of the gamers.

Let’s have it proper – I fully perceive that some gamers may need real considerations about catching Covid. It is a devastating illness that has already price far, far too many lives within the UK and world wide.

However the World Cup organising committee are doing the whole lot they will to safeguard gamers’ welfare – going over and above to make sure all taking part athletes are cared for and taken care of.

Tremendous League, too, is bending over backwards to accommodate the event – taking part in double rounds to make sure our elite competitors concludes on time. Solely final Saturday, Hull Kingston Rovers flew to Perpignan at in the future’s discover, to fulfil a fixture with the Dragons in Castleford’s place. Gamers proceed to place their our bodies on the road.

As a result of for each participant nervous, there’s one other who desires to return and be a part of one thing particular. My finest experiences taking part in rugby got here in World Cups, representing Eire firstly as a participant and afterward the administration facet. We nonetheless get collectively each 12 months, 21 years on. Recollections final ceaselessly.

I perceive World Cup organisers got simply 4 minutes’ discover of the Kangaroos and Kiwis’ resolution to tug out of the event – giving no time for them to formulate a rescue plan. The ARLC and NZRL have been additionally in discussions with the Rugby League Gamers’ Affiliation in Australia, in all probability one of many strongest gamers’ consultant our bodies in world sport.

Rugby Football League chairman Simon Johnson says Australia and New Zealand's decision to withdraw from the World Cup is 'selfish and parochial'

Sky Sports 1:26
Rugby Soccer League chairman Simon Johnson says Australia and New Zealand’s resolution to withdraw from the World Cup is ‘egocentric and parochial’

Rugby Soccer League chairman Simon Johnson says Australia and New Zealand’s resolution to withdraw from the World Cup is ‘egocentric and parochial’

It is run by former Hull KR favorite Clint Newton, who does an amazing job representing the gamers within the NRL. It might have been simpler to ask Clint to ballot the gamers straight as as to if or not they needed to participate within the event. I discover it shambolic that the gamers weren’t consulted.

Proper now, the NRL has shifted its competitors – hook, line and sinker – to the Gold Coast, at nice expense, to maintain the season alive. The gamers’ households have additionally relocated – it is superb what might be achieved in a brief area of time if wants should. What’s baffling is that the World Cup remains to be three months away – and but the choice to withdraw has already been made.

If the event continues, whoever emerges as champions can have a hole victory. The victors will ceaselessly be remembered because the winners of a event missing its two largest nations.

Studies counsel the World Cup organisers are to decide on the way forward for the event on Wednesday night.

The fits Down Underneath have to rethink their resolution, get off their excessive horse, seek the advice of the gamers, and belief the World Cup organisers to make sure the welfare of all rivals. Solely then can we make sure the integrity of our sport.





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